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Sunday 15 December 2019

Recruiter for Citizens Assembly suspended after replacement members enlisted through personal contacts and not randomly

Citizens’ Assembly chair Ms Justice Mary Laffoy. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins
Citizens’ Assembly chair Ms Justice Mary Laffoy. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins

Allison Bray

A recruiter for members of the Citizens Assembly has been suspended from duty pending an internal investigation after it emerged that seven replacement members were enlisted through the recruiter’s own personal contacts and not randomly as required.

The replacement members, who attended just one session of the assembly held on January 13 and 14 dealing with “The Manner in Which Referenda are Held” have been relieved of their duties. The session was discussing terms for holding referenda in general.

Retired judge, the Hon Mary Laffoy, who chairs the 99-member citizen’s convention said she is satisfied that “this is an isolated incident and that it has no impact on the work of the Assembly on previous topics.”

However she said she is “obviously disappointed that the Assembly finds itself in a position where these seven individuals, who were recruited in December 2017 and January 2018, have been recruited in a manner which is inconsistent with the agreed methodology.”

A spokeswoman for RED C Research and Marketing, which is responsible for recruiting members of the Assembly, said the seven members were identified as potential candidates “through friends and family of the recruiter.”

All seven were recruited by the same recruiter during telephone conversations in December, 2017, she said.

The accepted protocol for recruiting citizen members is through “cold calling door-to-door households in the allocated geographic area which is issued to them by RED C,” she added.

The recruiter, who has worked for RED C for the past five years without issue, is currently suspended from duty pending a “ full employment disciplinary process,” she told The Irish Independent. The issue was uncovered during a “randomised check” of the recruitment process.

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